Americans support sending astronauts to the moon and Mars

July 16, 2021, 2:30 PM UTC

Just over one in ten adult Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov poll say it’s definitely or probably the case that the 1969 moon landing was faked.  

The 12% who believe Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin never visited Earth’s lunar body come from across the political spectrum. But belief is highest among those too young to have watched the event live. One in six of those under 30 (17%), and one in five of those between the ages of 30 and 44 (21%) say the theory of a faked “landing” somewhere in Arizona is definitely or probably true. Men are more likely to express some level of belief in it than women (15% vs 9%).   

But for most of the public overall, that event 52 years ago was both real and worth the cost. 

By three to one, that first moon landing was worth the price to Americans. That’s true across all demographic and partisan categories. Even 59% of the people who believe the moon landing was definitely or probably faked believe it was worth the cost (whatever it is they consider the cost to paid for). 

Most Americans would support continuing space exploration: majorities are in favor both of returning to the moon and exploring Mars. Space exploration is supported by those in both political parties, though women are more hesitant than men about continuing space flights. 

The same pattern exists when it comes to paying for space exploration.  Just 16% say space funding should be reduced. More than twice that percentage, 39%, would increase spending, and 29% would keep space funding at the current level.  Republicans and Democrats agree, but women are 18 points less likely than men to want to spend more on space exploration.  Half (48%) of men would spend more, compared with 30% of women. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll  

Related: Most Americans support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan; 43% support sending them to Haiti

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between July 10 - 13, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty